Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Great Harvest Bread Co.

VERDICT: Come for the delicious bread, leave for the atmosphere.

I really like Great Harvest Bread Co.  They do regular sliced bread a service, by making it fresh, preservative free and delicious.  The difference between Great Harvest Bread and Panera is dramatic.  Great Harvest shies away from croissants and danishes.  Instead they focus on white, wheat, and various other basic sliced breads.  They are really good though.  It really makes you detest going back to the normal grocery store fodder.  The downfall, as is with quality, is the price, about $5-$6 per loaf.  They also have cookies and a few bready desserts.
Part deux of this review really has to focus on the experience and atmosphere.  First, I was really excited to find a Great Harvest over by my Costco on Decatur.  I forced Greg to pull over and rush in.  However, there was a group of six or so teenage n'er-do-wells also approaching the store at the same time.  I was determined to get to the store before them and told Greg to hurry or they were going to beat us to the door.  He said, "don't worry, they'll eat up the free samples and you'll get a fresh loaf to sample".  He just said that because he is a lollygagger and hates to "pick up the pace".  I must be getting old since I've already used the terms "n'er-do-well" and "lollygagger" in this post.  Anyway, I let the hooligans beat me to the store.

Inside the narrow store, the teenagers turned out to be less of a threat.  It appeared to be closeted gay boys with their Christian-youth-group-approved girlfriends out having a wild time by venturing to the bread store to get a couple of sandwiches and get an inappropriate amount of free samples.  You know, basically being complete rebels.  They were kind of too outwardly excited about their bread samples in a wholesome way, saying things like "I love bread" and "bread rocks".  It was like those Totino pizza roll ads where the kids wax feverishly about their love of frozen food.

This process actually took a long time, giving me an ample amount of time to give Greg the I-told-you-so eye for being a lollygagger.  Something I'm sure he was oblivious to noticing.  During this time, I was also able to look around at all of the customers sitting at tables.  There were quite a few of them.  I would say at least ten people scattered through the sitting area.  Then it struck me as being incredibly odd.  Every single person was facing the counter.  Every single person was not eating, drinking, or talking.  They were just staring at the counter.  I felt this existential feeling like I was starring in Sartre's "No Exit".  They were the audience and I didn't know that I was in the play.  It was bizarre.  I know, I know, I often accuse restaurants of being cults, as in crEATe and the nearby Salad Creations, but I think I'm on to something. It was odd.  I have no idea what is going on there.

In any case, I get the counter with my Dakota wheat bread (sooooo gooood).  I get my choice of free samples and the girl behind the counter offered me the heel of the bread.  Those n'er-do-well, hooligan, gays and their beards stole my chance for a decent sample.  And Greg's lollygagging didn't help either.
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